Sunday, December 17, 2023


On television they’re trotting out Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and seemingly-infinite variations on A Christmas Carol. Here at Creation Point we have our own Yuletide tradition. Back in 2009—born out of my inordinate love for this heart-filling, soul-transforming, sacred and transcendent season—I wrote a short Christmas tale called The Truth About Santa Claus. Since then, I’ve been offering it annually as a kind of cyber Christmas present: my way of wishing all of you who visit this site the happiest of holidays and the most magical of Christmases. I offer it again this year—along with a trio of illustrations provided by my friend and collaborator Vassilis Gogtzilas. So grab a plate of Christmas cookies, pull a chair up close to the fireplace and enjoy.



He’d been thinking about it for days—ever since he heard Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo announce it on the school bus—and he didn’t believe a word of it, not one word.  (Well, maybe ONE.)  But Cody had to be sure, absolutely, positively sure—

—and that’s why he was hiding behind the couch at midnight on Christmas Eve.

His mother was there, asleep in his dad’s old easy chair, the reds and blues of the Christmas tree lights making her look peaceful and happy and impossibly young.

The tree, by the way, had not ONE SINGLE PRESENT underneath it.

That didn’t make sense.  If there WAS no Santa Claus, if his mother was the one who bought the presents, wrapped the presents, stacked them under the tree, then how come she hadn’t done it?  How come she wasn’t awake RIGHT NOW arranging them all?

He got scared.  Maybe there wasn’t going to BE a Christmas this year.  Maybe Mom had lost her job and they didn’t have any money and so she COULDN’T buy him any presents and—

And then Cody glanced over at the windows and noticed that it was snowing.

Or was it?

If that was snow, it was the WHITEST snow he’d ever seen.  It was snow as bright as moonbeams, as bright as sunlight, as bright as...


Quickly, but quietly (he didn’t want to wake his mother), he scurried to the window and looked out.

It was coming down and coming down and COMING DOWN all across town, whirling and whipping, spinning and gyrating, out of the night sky.  Glowing so brightly that it almost hurt his eyes to look at it.  And Cody saw that it certainly wasn’t snow, and it absolutely wasn’t rain, it wasn’t ANYTHING he’d ever seen before.  But each drop, no...each flake, no... each BALL of glowing WHATEVER IT WAS, seemed to pulse and spin, soar and vibrate, as if it were alive.

And the stuff, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS (and he knew now that it was magic.  He just KNEW), wasn’t collecting on the streets, wasn’t piling up on the rooftops.  It was MELTING INTO (that’s the only way he could put it:  MELTING INTO) every house (no matter how small) and apartment building (no matter how big).

EVERY house and apartment building.


He looked up.

And there it was:  coming RIGHT THROUGH THE CEILING of Apartment 3F, HIS apartment, swirling, like a tornado of light, around the chandelier and then down, down, down—


At first he almost yelled out a warning, “Mom!  Wake up!  MOM!”  But something made him stop.

Instead of yelling he ducked back behind the couch and watched, eyes peering over the top.

Watched as the light-tornado wheeled around his mother, so fast, so bright, that he could hardly even SEE her.  But he COULD see her.  Most of her, anyway.

And what he SAW...

The light poured in through the top of her head, through her eyes, through her chest, through her toes.  It lifted her up—still sleeping!—and carried her out of her chair and across the room.  And as she floated—

—she started to change:

Her hair became white, her nose became red, her belly ballooned like the most pregnant woman in the history of the world.  Her feet grew boots, her head grew a hat, her nightgown grew fur.  An overstuffed sack sprouted, like a lumpy angel’s wing, from her shoulder.  And then—

AndthenandthenandTHEN, it wasn’t his mother there at all, it was him, it was SANTA CLAUS!  STANDING RIGHT THERE IN CODY’S LIVING ROOM!  Santa Claus who, with a laugh (exactly like the laugh Cody always knew he had, only better) and a twinkle in his eyes (exactly like the twinkle he’d always imagined, ONLY BETTER) reached into his sack and pulled out package after package, present after present, and placed them, carefully, like some  Great Artist contemplating his masterpiece, under the tree.

When he was done, Santa Claus stood there, grinning and shaking his head, as if he couldn’t BELIEVE what a beautiful tree this was, how wonderful the presents looked beneath it.  As if this moment was the greatest moment in the history of Christmas, as if this apartment was the only place in all the universes that such a Christmas could ever POSSIBLY happen.

And then the MOST amazing thing happened:

Santa Claus turned.

He turned slowly.  So slowly Cody couldn’t even tell at first that he was moving at all.  And—slowly, SLOWLY—those twinkling eyes, that Smile of smiles, fixed itself on the two boy-eyes peering, in wonder, over the top of the couch.

And what Cody felt then he could never really say:  only that it was better than any present anyone could ever get.  Only that it made his heart so warm it melted like magical WHATEVER IT WAS, trickling down through his whole body.  Only that it made him want to reach out his arms and hug Santa Claus, hug his mother, hug his father (and FORGIVE him too, for running out on them) and his aunts and uncles and cousins (even his Cousin Erskine who was SUCH a pain) and Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo (who really wasn’t so bad most of the time) and all his  friends and teachers and the kid in his karate class who always smelled SO BAD and, embarrassing as it sounds, it made him want to hug everyone and everything in the whole world including rabbits and snakes and trees and lizards and grass and lions and mountains and, yes, the EARTH HERSELF.

Cody wanted to hold that gaze, to keep his eyes locked on Santa’s, forever. (Or longer, if he could.)  Wanted to swim in that incredible feeling, drown in it, till GOD HIMSELF came down to say:  “Enough!”

Except that he blinked.  Just once.  But in that wink of an eye, Santa was gone.  Cody’s mother was asleep in the chair again and, for one terrible moment, the boy thought that the whole thing must have been a dream.

Except, under the tree:  THERE WERE THE PRESENTS.

Except, out the window:  THERE WAS THE SNOW, the rain, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS, shooting up, like a blizzard in reverse, from every house, every apartment building.  Shooting up into the heavens, gathering together like a fireball, like a white-hot comet—

—and fading away into the night:  going, going...


Without so much as a tinkling sleigh-bell or a “Ho-ho-ho.”

Not that it mattered.

Cody looked at his mom.

Cody kissed her.

“I love you,” he said.  And he was crying.  Happy tears.  Christmas tears.  Like moonbeams, like sunlight.  Like stardust.

Mom stirred in the chair, smiled the softest sweetest smile Cody had ever seen. “I love you, too,” she said.

And then she drifted back to sleep.

Cody sat at her feet, warming himself, warming his SOUL, by the lights of the tree.

And soon, he, too, was drifting off to sleep.  And as he drifted, a wonderful thought rose up, like a balloon, inside him.  Rose, then POPPED—spreading the thought to every corner of his mind.  Giving him great comfort.  Great delight:

“One day,” the thought whispered, “when you’re all grown-up, when you have children of your own.  ONE DAY,” the thought went on...

“It will be YOUR TURN.”

Merry Christmas.

Story ©copyright 2023 J.M. DeMatteis

Art ©copyright 2023 Vassilis Gogtzilas 


  1. This is my 1st time reading this. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Again with this?
    Dematteis, there is no such thing as Vassilis Gogtzilas. We go through this every year.

    1. Then who's the Greek artist who comes down my chimney every Christmas?

    2. That is Sal Buscema.

      He does it every Christmas to preserve your innocence, or the holiday season. Which frankly, given his age, not only is a testament to his goodwill, but makes him some kind of nutty-cuckoo-superman.

      Just like one day you will turn into Vassilis Gogtzilas for Geoff Johns... or something.

      However, if he did exist...which he again does not... I am one of the people who picked up his Mister Universe one-shot Comic back in the day, and found it very interesting. Almost like a Night Gallery story if that makes sense and find the fact he is returning to it very interesting, and that his art was very useful in conveying the surreal and almost dream like nature of the story.

      Again...IF he existed.


    3. Well, the entire universe is an illusion, so, strictly speaking, none of us exist. But Happy Holidays anyway, Jack!

  3. It's my first time reading this as well. It was beautiful! A warm and original take on a child's magical belief in Santa and our parents' everlasting devotion to us. Thanks, J.M. and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Joseph. Happy Holidays right back at you!

  4. Yummy. Thanks. Merry Christmas JM

  5. Happy Holidays. Dematteis,!

    I know the next few days will be filled with singing my glories to your family and friends, and far be it form me to take away the act that gives your year any meaning.

    However, before it starts in earnest, a holiday thought.

    It is important to remember friends during the holidays. So, here is a song to remind you of that friend of yours, You know the one, bald and shiny. Always carries a surfboard. You lent him 50 bucks in the late 90s and he never paid you back because he "doesn't wear pants." You know the guy, he was a Defender. What was his name? Devil-Slayer? Does he have a surfboard?

    Anyway, here you go (let me know if you think of that silvery uy with the surfboard's name. was it Son of Satan?)....

    And because I am so generous...and it will cost me nothing... a reminder of how wonderfully and whimsically off-beat (in a good way) Len Wein stories could be in the 1980s....



  6. Holidays indeed, Jack! A Happy and a Merry to you!

    And thanks for the song...and the reminder of Len's sense of fun and his big heart.

  7. Weird and interesting. Would have been great if they'd used the faces of actual actors and actresses that appeared in the Zone.

    1. are saying that you are going to go back in time, with a collection of comics, show them to Rod Serling just after the cancellation of Th Loner, then explain to him that his dreams of an adult western can live in a new for, since superheroes will soon take over that roll, showing the works of Lee-Kirby, Ditko-Romita, sure, but also O'Neal And Adams, X-men God Loves Man Kills, etc., and push him to reaching out to the Stan Lee to start adapting live action Marvel characters the 60s? With Serling at the helm?

      I don;t know Dematteis, that is a pretty out there idea. Even for you. Do you have any idea how much access to a time machine costs? A lot. That is why only the rich and powerful get to manipulate the timestream.

      It would probably be easier just to pitch some Twilight Zone inspired miniseries with Spider-man and the gang to Marvel.

      No, no, this time travel scheme of your is too out there Dematteis.

      But..if you make it work, I will by the DVDs.

      Time Traveling to get a TV show made? You are crazy DeMAtteis. Thinking you have that kind of money.


    2. Time travel only SEEMS expensive. The truth is, time is just an arbitrary concept and, if one is in the proper meditational state, one can pierce the veil of time and move through the timestream to any point one chooses. Didn't you know that?

    3. There actually is a scientific theory that everything that ever has happened and ever will happen is happening all at once. It is just that our flawed memory creates the illusion of time to make sense of things.

      However, let's say your meditation scheme DID work. That would only transport your consciousness. You would not be able to bring the comics from the future with you.

      In March of 1965 (when Loner's last episode aired), Marvel was still warming up. Don;t get me wrong, I love the early days of the Marvel revolution.but selling the idea to an adult who did not read comics at the time might be rough with those issues.

      The X-Men as a metaphor for oppressed minorities for instance was...muddled. There were a few points it was mentioned, but in reality, I am not sure Jack Kirby ever got the plan. The Silver Surfer was still about a year away,

      You would have to bring comics from later on...I feel Denny O'Neil, Len Wein, Steve Gerber, Claremont's X-Men. Maybe Daredevil Born again and Spectacular Spider-MAn #200. Some Jim Starlin Warlock and Dreadstar. Peter David etc. He would have to see the wider picture.

      And your meditation knock off would not allow you to carry those comics.

      Oh you and your crazy schemes.


    4. Ah, but you see, Jack—the universe is COMPOSED of consciousness; form is an illusion. So where the mind goes, the body follows.

      I look forward to going back in time to the 60s, picking up lots of mint condition comic, then coming back and selling them for a massive profit!

      See? Not such a crazy scheme after all!

    5. That does not make any sense. If it is consciousness, form can't be a illusion is an outside element that tricks a person, or their conscious mind. If everything is consciousness, then it cannot be tricked,
      You would not call a dream an illusion, you would say it was something created by your unconscious mind.
      Even if you want to say it is limited perception, you would not say someone who is color blind is seeing an illusion, you would say they are unable to see very detail.

      Whatever, that is semantics. The bigger issue is, you can travel back in time, bring back physical items,and you choose the 60s? Wouldn't like, 1939 be the time to go to?

      Uninteresting fact, there was a Back to the Future Comics that explains the reason Doc Brown could afford all the changes to the time machine, and buy all the stuff from 2015, was because he went back in time and bought 100 issues of action Comics #1 off the rack in 1938, and sold them in 2015 ( a year).

      So it is a crazy scheme, because you actively chose to make less money, that could have bought more comics to show Serling, donate to needy charities, and more important give to me, through my stealing of it. And if you think saying you bought the comics from the 60s so I will not steal any of the money...that is just ridiculously naive.

      Any way, you may be interested in this video that popped up in my feed a few weeks ago..


    6. From my POV (and experience), Jack, it is ALL illusion. We only think form exists. Eastern mysticism agrees with this, as does quantum physics. But that doesn't matter (and it's nothing I want to debate about). What matters is that PKD was such a strange, fascinating guy. Thanks for the video!

    7. What is not talked about enough in the conversation about PKD's unique take on God and spirituality, are his connections to Quakerism.

      Dick went to a Quaker school, a fascinating religious belief, with deep ties to the history of America that no one knows about.

      Especially for a religion created in 1600s England, it was fairly progressive, and shared ties with many "eastern Religions." If you wonder why "Eastern Religions is in quotation marks, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are also from the East, but are for some reason not referred to as "Eastern."

      Most people know about the pacifism, abolitionist beliefs, but not that women were to hold equal roles in the "church" and family, early pioneers in mental health, opening the first mental hospital in the western world that tried to treat mental illness in the 1700s, etc.

      These are all things you can find in even the earliest writings of Philip K. Dick Arguably even in the Man in the High Castle has unconscious echoes of Quakerism. Quakers after all received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for there work getting Jews out of Nazi occupied Europe. Depending on how close he was to the Society of Friends during the war, that may have been something he was hearing about frequently. They also offered aid to those in Japanese internment camps.

      But as seen in later books, is how Quakers view religion and the nature of God. While nominally Christian, Quakers actually believe there are many pathways to God, through multiple religions, so long as they are based on love and compassion. This is a concept more commonly espoused by religions associated with eh Silk Road, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taosim, etc.. That there are many pathways to the universal consciousness, however one interprets that.

      Which is likely at least somewhat in play in later books. Dick was big into the I Ching, which played a major role in his writings. Spending time in an environment that did not put up strict walls with other religions would have made this exploration more natural.

      It could also explain the comparative religion discussions in the Valis trilogy. Most notably in how multiple religions follow a similar trajectory of Judaism and Christianity, going from law adherence to advocates for people.

      Also, Quaker meetings involve sitting in silence waiting for inspiration from God, and discussion. Discussion about if what came to them is really from God, discussion on what the nature of God is. Discussion about how God wants them to interact with the world. A lot of discussion, and a lot of community.

      Something arguably also seen in Eye in the Sky. Not only does community discussion of the common good a major part of the book, bit also each individuals own view of reality aka the divine has a chance to take dominance.
      It is also worth nothing that the first nightmarish world was one that mixed both strict religious adherence with necessary rituals with outlandish racism, both things antithetical to Quaker teachings.
      Again, I am not saying it was directly thought out by Dick, but rather that there may have been an unconscious element.

      Dick also had characters that were often outside of society while being a part of it, in The Man who Japed this is taken to an extreme with the main character rebelling, non-violently.
      The Quaker doctrine states followers should be in the world, but not of it, but also that you should not force your religion on people. Since there are many paths to God, conversion of people is not necessary. However, using Quaker based beliefs to change the world is encouraged. This is why Quakers have been so prevalent in the The Abolitionist movement, Civil Rights Movement, Women's suffrage, Environmentalism, and Gay Rights. The idea that all people should be met on equal standing, that money and status does not make one more worthy in society, can be seen in how he has alien beings interact with humans. Protagonists in PKD books always meet alien creatures, and other different types of fantastical creatures as equals, and evaluate from there.



    8. In the Divine Invasion, Herb Asher is shown to be truly in love with Linda Fox, when he accepts her beyond the rock star flash. She is described as looking like a somewhat chubby pizza waitress.
      It is true that Linda represents the Hebrew concept of Yetzer Hatov, however the concept is somewhat altered from traditional Jewish teachings by Dick. Probably for the point of story, but the idea of how the relationship is formed has parallels to Quakerism.
      ONe of the reasons why Quakers made a statement of being okay with homosexuality in the early 60s, was because of the belief that it is not the type of relationship that matters, it is the quality i.e. one based off of love, respect, and truly knowing someone.
      Yes, you could argue any religions have this basic point, but Quakers nail it home through wedding ceremonies. There is no official, because they believe only God can bring people together. They ask all in attendance if they believe that, which includes the question about them knowing each other. If anyone says no, you cannot hand wave it away like after "speak no or forever hold your peace."

      ONe could also potentially see the Androids from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, in their cruelty often born form confusion (I am remembering the scene where they cut the legs off a spider), as being humans without the Quaker sense of inner light.
      The "Inner Light" is not literal, but rather a metaphorical light that connects humans to God, and gets brighter (closer to god) when a person does good, and dimmer (further from God)when they act in cruelty.
      Keep in ind, humans n that world find joy and comfort in caring for animals, or synthetic animals, which the androids have no problem killing.

      Also, many of his works show a disdain for a person being defined by his job or status in society. Not exactly uncommon for writing in the 50s and early 60s, but Quakers specifically do not believe in societal or monetary class not having any value, In the day, they refused to tip their hat to wealthier people, as was the custom, and in 1930s Germany were led by this to ignore Nuremberg Laws that prevented doing business with Jews, and refusing to "zieg heil."

      Once more, I do not think any of this was consciously out into his work..

      Also, I would be remiss if I did not point out, I did not disagree with your thesis about the universe, only that illusion is not the right word. If the whole universe is consciousness, and an illusion is something by an outside force to trick a person (consciousness), then there cannot be an illusion, because there is not outside force. My point is more that you are describing more a human handicap in human perception.

      I am not talking about your thesis, just hate terminology you use to describe it


    9. P.S. there might be some issues with my posts internal logic, from when I had to cut and paste to send it. Apologies

    10. Didn't know about Dick's Quaker roots, Jack. (Or, if I did, I've long forgotten.) That's fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing these insights!

    11. I am not sure he was raised a Quakers, so much as went to Quaker schools. You may think that is an odd reality, but think of how many non-Catholics go to Catholic school out of a desire for cheap private educations, then remember Quakers tend to be more open to other religions.

      A quote form PKD to sort of solidify where he may have been...
      "I had no religious background. I was raised in a Quaker school—they’re about the only group in the world that I don’t have some grievance against; there’s no hassle between me and the Quakers—but the Quaker thing was just a lifestyle. And in Berkeley there was no religious spirit at all."